By Jack Phillips
Former President Donald Trump on Monday announced the FBI seized three of his passports in its raid of his Mar-a-Lago home last week.
In a post on Truth Social, Trump said that one of the passports was expired. The FBI and Department of Justice have not issued a public comment on Trump’s assertion.
“Wow! In the raid by the FBI of Mar-a-Lago, they stole my three Passports (one expired), along with everything else,” Trump wrote. “This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country. Third World.”
It’s not clear why the FBI would seize his passports, which may have included his diplomatic passport that was given to him after he won the presidency in 2016. Without a legal passport, Trump would not be able to travel outside the United States.
Three days ago, a U.S. magistrate judge ordered the FBI warrant and property receipt unsealed, showing that FBI agents recovered alleged classified and top secret material from Mar-a-Lago. The warrant said Trump may be under investigation for possible Espionage Act and obstruction of justice violations.
It came after Attorney General Merrick Garland, in a press conference on Aug. 11, said that he “personally approved” the FBI’s warrant to search Mar-a-Lago. Meanwhile, the White House and Biden administration officials have insisted that President Joe Biden was not aware of the search until Trump announced it.
Republicans have called on the federal government to release its affidavit in the case, which would show the justification used for the search. Both Trump and Republicans have accused the FBI and Justice Department of a politically motivated attack on Trump, a likely 2024 presidential candidate who has endorsed dozens of GOP congressional and gubernatorial candidates, ahead of the 2022 midterms.
Lawyers for Trump, meanwhile, have said that when he was president, he had the power to declassify the documents before he departed the White House. Other legal experts have also said that any documents a president takes from the White House upon leaving are automatically declassified. On Sunday, Trump also accused the agents of taking materials that would fall under attorney-client privilege.
“Oh great! It has just been learned that the FBI, in its now famous raid of Mar-a-Lago, took boxes of privileged ‘attorney-client’ material, and also ‘executive’ privileged material, which they knowingly should not have taken,” the former commander-in-chief remarked.
Trump then requested they return those documents.
“By copy of this TRUTH,” Trump wrote Sunday, “I respectfully request that these documents be immediately returned to the location from which they were taken. Thank you!”
Earlier Monday, Trump told Fox News in an interview that he wants to bring down the “temperature” following the FBI raid, noting the incident has incensed many Americans.
“The country is in a very dangerous position. There is tremendous anger, like I’ve never seen before, over all of the scams, and this new one—years of scams and witch hunts, and now this,” Trump told Fox. “If there is anything we can do to help, I, and my people, would certainly be willing to do that,” he added.
The Department of Justice has not returned a request for comment Monday.